Photo: Belle Plagne – © Paul Skinner / Top Snow Travel
Located in the French Tarantaise Valley, La Plagne is one of the most popular ski resorts in the world, seeing 2.5 million visitors every winter. This high altitude resort appeals to skiers and snowboarders of all levels thanks to its gentle beginner slopes and vast off-piste terrain.
The Paradiski area with its 452km of groomed runs makes it the 4th largest linked ski area in the world.
THE RESORT AND MOUNTAINS
The majority of La Plagne’s pistes are rated as beginner slopes, and many are long with gentle gradients. Therefore, La Plagne isn’t the best place for snowboarders. But skiers have lots to enjoy around the ski area, known as the Paradiski. The lift system is efficient and helps you to explore the abundance of villages with ease.
Even though La Plagne is a snowsure high altitude ski resort, there are many pistes below the treeline, which are great when the snow is good, and the visibility is bad.
More advanced skiers can enjoy La Plagne’s wide range of off-piste freeride terrain. After a recent snowfall, and when the avalanche conditions are favourable, head to Bellecôte and off the side of Roche de Mio. To really get the most out of the area’s off-piste book a guide or instructor to take you to the best spots.
La Plagne is also linked with the neighbouring resort of Les Arcs, which nearly doubles the ski area, making it the third-largest in the world. The two resorts are linked via a double-decker cable car that carries skiers across the valley. Due to the Paradiski area’s size, skiing both resorts properly in one day is not really a viable option. If your time in La Plagne is limited, just stick with the local pass, and top it up with an extension for an away day to Les Arcs. It will save you money in the long run.
When it comes to choosing where to stay, you have a huge range of options. This is because La Plagne is made up of eleven individual villages, including seven at high altitude. Holiday properties range from traditional Savoyard hotels and chalets to huge buildings that look like cruise ships moored up in the mountains. This means that there is literally something for everyone.
If you can, try to avoid visiting La Plagne during the French school holidays. Due to La Plagne’s popularity, these peak weeks are hectic, creating lots of long lift queues.
Aime La Plagne, the highest of the villages provides great ski-in ski-out access with stunning views of Mont-Blanc
Aime la Plagne
The first thing you notice about Aime La Plagne is the huge building designed to look like the surrounding mountains. This is packed with lots of self-catered apartments whilst the ground floor consists of shops, bars and restaurants.
Here you have easy access to some easy blue runs and two beginner areas. More advanced skiers can enjoy a good selection of black runs from the Becoin lift.
Many skiers love Aime La Plagne for its ski-in-ski-out accommodation, elevation, and fantastic views over Mont Blanc.
If you want to be in the thick of the action, La Plagne Centre is the place to be.
The village is packed full of everything you need to make your holiday fun and convenient. The amenities include supermarkets, bakeries, delis, clothes shops, ski hire, bars and restaurants. In fact, many visitors to La Plagne Centre don’t stray too far, but, you can visit the other villages with ease from here.
La Plagne Centre links to the rest of the villages via its plethora of lifts and pistes. The wide range of pistes means there is something for everyone, but the off-piste is the best in the area after a good snowfall.
Plagne Centre is suitable for all ages and caters for all people’s expectations of a ski holiday, thanks to opportunities for activities, shopping, eating and drinking.
Plagne Soleil & Plagne Villages
These are quiet and secluded villages, with everything you need for a skiing trip. They are situated among a collection of blue pistes, connecting them with the rest of La Plagne. Both villages have beginner areas and convenient meeting points for the ski schools.
Plagne Villages and Plagne Soleil are great alternatives to the larger villages if you prefer a quieter holiday. However, La Plagne Centre is close by for more lively evenings.
Plagne Villages and Plagne Soleil are great alternatives to the larger villages if you prefer a quieter holiday.
Belle Plagne is the largest of the high altitude villages at 2050m; it is also widely regarded as the most attractive. The car-free centre consists of traditional wood and stone buildings, giving you an authentic French alpine experience.
Belle Plagne is popular with families due to the children’s snow garden, a beginner area and its wide-open blue pistes. The village itself is charming and has lots of souvenir, ski and clothing shops to browse through. There is also a great selection of bars and restaurants and a bowling ally.
Plagne Bellecote is a bustling village thanks to its wide range of accommodation options, shops, events and activities available.
When it comes to piste access, Bellcote is unrivalled in the La Plagne area. This access is due to the fact that many pistes and lifts terminate here. The beginner’s area has a magic carpet, so it is perfect for those learning their first turns.
The wooden traditional-style chalets of La Plagne 1800 make it one of the most attractive villages in the area. Its beginner ski area and easy runs back to the village make it a very family-friendly ski resort. La Plagne 1800 is well connected with the rest of the Paradiski area, too, so more advanced skiers will have plenty to explore.
La Plagne 1800 has a wide range of accommodation available from private chalets, apartments and hotels. It offers you pretty much anything you need for your ski holiday.
If you want to be in the thick of the action, La Plagne Centre is the place to be.
Montalbert is the furthest point away from the Vanoise Express, so holidaymakers who want to explore the Paradiski area usually stay in the other villages.
However, Montalbert has access to some beautiful tree runs, powder fields and area for cross country skiing. If it is a bad snow season, its low altitude can be a problem. But its north-facing slopes and snow cannons keep the pistes open and the village accessible all winter.
Champagny en Vanoise
Champagny-en-Vanoise has everything you need for a fantastic skiing holiday, including easy access to the slopes, lots of shops, ski hire and a childcare centre.
Champagny is excellent for skiers of all levels thanks to the range of pistes available from the cable car. There is also some fantastic off-piste areas accessible with the ‘village sector’ ski pass.
The village of Champagny-en-Vanoise is easy to get to but off the beaten track. Its peaceful atmosphere is balanced well with easy access to plenty of activities.
Montchavin – Les Coches
Montchavin is another fantastic ski destination for families. Overlooking Mont Blanc, this picturesque car-free resort has a traditional Savoyard style, with wooden chalets. Montchavin is linked to neighbouring village Les Coches by a free shuttle bus.
The accommodation options are very close to the Vanoise Express cable car. Another big attraction to Montchavin is the Espace Paradisio leisure complex, where skiers go to relax at the end of the day.
Plagne 1800 features many beautiful chalets and is located just below Plagne Centre
La Plagne attracts skiers from all walks of life, therefore, you can be sure to find suitable accommodation for your group. But, there are some fantastic luxury accommodation options to choose from, here are some of our favourites.
Hotel Carlina (Belle Plagne)
Hotel Carlina is a chalet-style hotel in the Belle Plagne village and offers its guests direct access to the ski slopes. This gorgeous hotel has its own indoor swimming pool, hammam and hot tub. The cosy rooms all have and balconies with picturesque mountain views. They also feature flat-screen TVs with satellite channels, free Wi-Fi access, and private bathrooms.
Each morning you can start your day with breakfast in the dining room and finish it sipping drinks in the hotel’s private bar. Hotel Carlina is an excellent option for skiers that want comfort and convenience.
Located in La Plagne Centre, Hotel Araucaria & Spa provides its guests ski-to-door access. Also, the Becoin, Funiplagne and Colorado ski lifts are less than 500m away.
One of this hotel’s highlights for those that enjoy pampering and relaxation during a ski trip, is the fabulous Nuxe spa. Here guests can take full advantage of the sauna, treatment rooms, and hammam. This hotel is great for families too, thanks to the indoor pool, with a treasure island for kids to play on.
Most of the rooms have balconies, but all have flat-screen TVs, safety deposit boxes and private bathrooms.
The hotel’s cocktail bar is a great space to enjoy aprés drinks before dining in the buffet restaurant in the evenings.
Hotel Le Cocoon (Plagne 1800)
Hotel Le Cocoon is located in the village of La Plagne 1800, just 100m from the nearest ski lift and 600m from the ski school. This location means that all the chalet-style en suite rooms have excellent views of the resort and the surrounding alpine landscape. Some of the rooms have balconies, but all have flat-screen TVs and luxury toiletries.
Guests of Hotel Le Cocoon start their day with a buffet breakfast and can reserve a table for evening meals in the restaurant.
The ski-in ski-out 4**** Araucaria Hotel & Spa is the best hotel in Plagne Centre – the inside will blow you away
Chalet Flocon (Plagne 1800)
Chalet Flocon is one of our favourite chalets in La Plagne for many reaasons. Its location makes your skiing holiday effortless, as it is just 200m from the pistes in the centre of Les Coches. This gives you quick access to the full Paradiski area.
This chalet has a contemporary design and features a jacuzzi, sauna and games room. It has eight large en-suite bedrooms, sleeping up to sixteen guests. The sizable open plan lounge and dining area are ideal for finishing your day with afternoon tea. You can also chat about your day with a beer on the balcony overlooking Mont Blanc.
Le Carlina Residence (Belle Plagne)
Le Carlina Residence neighbours the Hotel Carlina in Belle Plagne. These high-end contemporary apartments are comfortable and welcoming. The convenient location makes these apartments ski-in-ski-out, while guests can take advantage of the hotel’s fantastic spa facilities, swimming pool, restaurant, and bar.
There are apartments available with four, five and six bedrooms to suit different sized groups. All apartments have Wi-Fi access and a private ski room with boot dryers.
Situated at the foot of the La Plagne chair lift, Residence Les Granges du Soleil is very convenient and gives guests fantastic views over Mont Blanc.
Each contemporary styled apartment is decorated to a high standard and come fully equipped with a kitchen, bathroom, TV and free Wi-Fi connection. They also have private balconies, from which you can enjoy the spectacular views.
The residence has its own Spa & Beauty Centre with an indoor heated swimming pool, hot tub, sauna and steam rooms. You can also take full advantage of the on-site fitness centre, while beauty treatments are also available.
The 5***** Chalet Le Flocon in Plagne 1800 comes with a large Jacuzzi, hammam, sauna and salt cabin
APRÈS AND NIGHTLIFE
La Plagne’s popularity has led to a thriving aprés and nightlife scene. There is something for everyone, from quiet drinks to late night party venues. Here are some of our favourite venues:
Finishing your day on the slopes in La Plagne 1800 will undoubtedly lead you to La Mine Bar. La Mine has a unique decor, reminiscent of an Indiana Jones film. Here, you can enjoy music from the best bands in the French Alps, DJ’s and live sport on the big TV screens. La Mine is open from 4 pm to 2am every night.
For those skiing in La Plagne Centre, Scotty’s Bar is a great spot to enjoy snacks and meals served all day. If you like your burgers, Scotty’s is the place to go, but they also serve excellent sharing platters. This is a popular bar that gets busy, thanks to regular live music and happy hours drinks.
Monica’s Bar, located in Plagne Soleil, has a large choice of beers to sample while dancing to live aprés music, followed by a DJ. This pub-style Bar also often shows live sporting events on large TV screens too.
Monica’s is open from 4pm until 2 in the morning, and with happy hour from 5pm until 6pm, there is plenty of time to enjoy, but it does get jam-packed during aprés time.
Sample some delicious local cheeses and cured meats with a nice glass of wine around a warm fireplace
EATING IN LA PLAGNE
La Plagne has a plethora of restaurants to choose from, catering for all tastes. But, here are some of our favourite ones in the various villages that make up the resort.
Le Loup Blanc
Le Loup Blanc is a traditional family run Savoyard restaurant in La Plagne 1800. The cosy atmosphere is enhanced by the decor and friendly staff, making it ideal for large groups or intimate meals. This excellent restaurant is located near to the 1800 chairlift, so Le Loup Blanc is also popular during the day, thanks to its sun-drenched decking area.
Le Panoramic and L’Arlequin
These two traditional restaurants are located in the village of Aime 2000, both serve French Savoyard cuisine. But, the owners set these two restaurants apart from the other options in the area. George and his wife Monique are charming and provide outstanding service. They work closely with local food suppliers to serve you high-quality fresh meats, cheese and wine. Le Panoramic has incredible views of Mont Blanc, while L’Arliquin provides a more relaxed and high-end dining experience.
The restaurant in the Hotel Carlina on Belle Plagne is an excellent choice for refined French dining. Here you can enjoy elegant dishes on the terrace overlooking the pistes during lunch too.
The ski area in La Plagne is so big it looks like an endless winter wonderland playground
Often on a skiing holiday, you will want to experience the other things a ski resort has to offer. You also may want a day off your skis, or have non-skiers in your group. La Plagne has a huge range of activities that don’t just involve skiing.
Snowshoeing in and around La Plagne is an ideal activity for non-skiers and when the weather conditions are not too good. You can either go out on your own or join a guided group to explore areas you would not usually see on skis. Snowshoe guides will often provide the equipment, but you can hire it at various ski shops around La Plagne if you are going solo.
Snowmobiles are a fantastic way of discovering different areas of the mountains. In La Plagne, you can take guided snowmobile trips after the lifts and slopes are closed. Your guides will give you all the information you need and tips for carving turns and riding up and down the mountains. Wrap up warm and prepare for a fantastic experience.
La Plagne is the only French ski resort with an Olympic bobsleigh run. There are three different ways to experience this unique and thrilling winter sport. Bobsleighing is a must-do activity during your trip to La Plagne, allowing you to feel like an Olympian for a few exciting moments. You can give it a try any day of the week, except Mondays.
La Plagne is the only ski resort in France with a bobsleigh track – try it out on your next ski holiday to La Plagne
Helicopter Scenic Rides
There are daily panoramic helicopter flights available from La Plagne provided by a number of local flight companies. Flying over the snow-capped French Alps is a wonderful way of enjoying the stunning views on clear days from a unique perspective.
Heli-skiing is actually illegal in France, but that doesn’t mean you cannot experience the ultimate thrill of it while staying in La Plagne. Many ski schools and flight companies provide a guided pick-up and drop off service over the border in La Thuile, Italy. Heli-skiing is regarded as a once in a lifetime experience for many, so why not splash out while visiting La Plagne this winter?
Ski joering combines skiing with horse riding, as skiers are towed behind a horse holding onto the reigns. Shout commands and pull on the reigns to control your horse as you meander through the forests. Ski joering is available to anyone with a basic level of skiing, but more experienced skiers can enjoy a more fast-paced gallop through the snow too.
If you like the idea of scaling frozen waterfalls, Ice climbing is a fantastic and fun challenge. La Plagne has a 24 m high ice climbing tower that is suitable for beginner and experienced climbers alike. Each Tuesday and Thursday, you can be coached by a qualified mountain guide to learn the ropes.
These are just some of the extra activities available to those visiting La Plagne. But, you should also check out fat biking, ice skating, Snakegliss, Airboard, Snowscooting and staying in an Igloo during your trip.
Ever stayed in an igloo before? Come and enjoy a cheese fondue dinner and a magical night in La Plagne
Why Book your Ski Holiday to La Plagne
La Plagne attracts many skiers from all over the world each winter. And it is easy to see why, thanks to its massive ski area, range of accommodation, fantastic restaurants, bars and extra things to do. La Plagne’s high altitude of 2,100 m means that you will likely get excellent snow conditions during your trip. Also, the vast Paradiski area will give you plenty of opportunities to explore.